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Sweden issues Libya travel warning

Sweden issues Libya travel warning

Published: 21 Feb 2011 10:22 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Feb 2011 10:22 GMT+01:00

Sweden has warned its citizens against all travel to Libya amid reports that dozens of people have been killed as government forces attempt to quash growing unrest in the country.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt called the developments in Libya "unacceptable."

"All reasons to be extremely concerned over Libya. Regime violence causing high number of deaths. Completely unacceptable," Bildt wrote on his Twitter account on Sunday.

At the same time, the Swedish foreign ministry issued a statement on Sunday advising Swedes to avoid all travel to Libya.

"In light of the security situation, the foreign ministry advises for the time being against all travel to Libya," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry, which just a day earlier had cautioned only against all non-essential travel to Libya, also said it was "urging Swedes with no pressing reason to stay to leave the country if the security situation allows."

The warnings come amid reports of a violent crackdown by Libyan security forces against protesters who began demonstrating last week against the rule of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.

According to Human Rights Watch, more than 230 people have been killed in recent days, many in the town of Benghazi, where government forces reportedly fired with machine guns on a funeral procession.

Protests began in Benghazi on Tuesday of last week, with thousands of people taking to the streets to demand the release of a human rights advocate.

On Thursday, protests spread to other parts of the country on what was called a "Day of Rage" against Qaddafi's more than 40-year-rule.

Writing on his blog on Monday, Bildt called the weekend's developments in Libya "extremely worrying."

"A total breakdown in Libya isn't at all unthinkable and would have grave consequences in a number of different areas," wrote Bildt.

"In the Mediterranean countries, concern for what it may mean is great. A massive flood of refugees, is, at the moment, a very real possibility and will place demands on European solidarity."

In Brussels for a meeting with his European counterparts, Bildt said that he and other EU foreign ministers "strongly condemn the violence which has been used against peaceful demonstrators."

He theorised that the Libyan government appeared to have "lost a significant amount of control" of parts of the country, adding that a "peaceful development" similar to what occurred recently in conjunction with pro-democracy demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia now appears "less likely" in Libya.

In addition to advising against travel to Libya, the Swedish foreign ministry has also advised that Swedes avoid all non-essential travel to Bahrain after anti-government demonstrators were also met with a violent response from government forces.

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:03 February 21, 2011 by UScitizen
Bildt theorised that the Libyan government appeared to have "lost a significant amount of control" of parts of the country?

According to the news: Protesters had seized some military bases, tanks and other weapons, Gadhafi's son said, blaming Islamists, the media, thugs, drunks and drug abusers, foreigners — including Egyptians and Tunisians.

Gadhafi's goverment is backed by the army, unlike Egypt, and Gadhafi's son said that his father would "fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet."

It's going to be another Middle Eastern mess.
11:03 February 21, 2011 by Rishonim
Are people that dumb that they need to wait for the government to issue a warning so they can decide not to go?
11:19 February 21, 2011 by johnny1939
Silly Bildtie and his cohorts can condemn all they want and it is not going to make any difference at all to the situation. Sadly it is going to be a bloodbath and Italiy is going to be swarmed w/ refugees. I would never visit Libya under normal circumstance I still have Lockerbee in fresh memory but of course Quadaffi is semi friendly w/ the US. Oh well, another day another $. I really miss the cold war everything was calm and predictable then......I am getting old......
11:51 February 21, 2011 by truthworthy
The time has come for puppet dictators to go. Middle East and Africa is changing.
11:52 February 21, 2011 by UScitizen
I really hate that all this is happening in the Middle East. It's going to have a major impact on the entire world, not necessarily in a positive way either.

If you look at the Swedish law, "all man's rights" or whatever it's called, a person can go onto someone's land and pick berries and mushrooms, etc. camp out, do almost anything and the property owner can't stop it.

That's basically what the entire "civilized world" has done to these nations. Maybe "industrialized world" would be a better term. We (not just Americans) went to those countries, used them, took advantage of them, took what we wanted, and gave little or nothing in return. Can you blame them for hating us?

That doesn't justify terrorism, not in the least, but it helps explain what is happening now. I don't have an answer for what we need to do. I just wish something had been done 50 or more years ago.
12:51 February 21, 2011 by calebian22
Indeed the Middle East is changing; into what is the worrisome aspect. Anyone who thinks that democracy as we understand it (secular with equal rights for all) is going to spring forth over there is either naive or an idiot. If Islam has a place in any of those new governments, the world can say goodbye to the democratic revolution that we keep hearing about on the news.
12:58 February 21, 2011 by eppie
Stupid protesters, don't they know they can only get democracy after the US has bombed the country to pieces.
13:26 February 21, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
Why did Sweden wait so long? For a certain number dead?
13:30 February 21, 2011 by Jes
Typical , isn´t it ? !!!!!!! ????

Why has it taken Sweden and the West all this long to see that the regimes actions in Libya are "unacceptable" ?

This Gadaffi thug is a terrorist who paid his way into the good books of most European nations . Scotland freed Gadiifi`s man who bombed 200 hundred innocent people out of the sky . I did not hear Carl Bilt calling that an unacceptable development . Why is he opening his mouth now ?

Let the Swedes should stay there and see for themselves how dictotors use the OIL money that Europeans deposit into their Bank Accounts .
14:05 February 21, 2011 by Great Scott
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt called the developments in Libya "unacceptable."

Stay out of bidlt, do you know that small fry unimportant people like you count for nothing.

Start to put your own country right first.
16:04 February 21, 2011 by @s-reader
@eppie

"Stupid protesters, don't they know they can only get democracy after the US has bombed the country to pieces. "

After the US has bombed the country to pieces they will get demolition not democracy!
16:26 February 21, 2011 by loudasthunder
Cool, now the US can test out the new "Ultra-Bomb". It's supposed to replace the nuclear bomb, with even more destruction.

So many issues of countries not to visit. Why not keep it simple and just not travel to any islamic or arabic country?

With December of 2012 just being around the corner, I'm beginning to wonder when China is going to get involved, possibly after Korea does something to set off US forces...

Maybe now is the time to build those shelters that were so popular in the 50's...
22:22 February 21, 2011 by buschmann
Consider this, the U.S. is near bankrupt and can't bale you out like in WW2. You are on your own.
02:15 February 22, 2011 by zircon
Mr Bildt's Sweden.
07:15 February 22, 2011 by UScitizen
@ Ravioli

The US was brought into this discussions because a lot of people who read this rag and post their rhetoric can't face their or their country's failures and shortcomings. So they blame the US.

You know, it's like if you're the class clown in school, you're jealous of the top student so you call that student the" teacher's pet" and you hate that student.

That student didn't do anything wrong, you were wrong for not studying and trying harder. but it's easier for you to blame someone else for your failures instead of doing something to better yourself.

That's how and why the US was brought into it by people like eppie.
07:45 February 22, 2011 by krattan
@UScitizen

You could also make an analogy where big bully US is taking all the candy from the smaller children. But I agree that it would be equally out of context. :P

This recent change in propaganda towards Egypt/Mubarak is very telling. Just half a year ago Egypt was a nice place to visit. Now it is/was a rotten dictatorship were people got tortured. Just support the side that is winning like Sweden did in ww2. That's best for business.

I wonder when people will make the comparison to the red and yellow skirts in Thailand. Another military dictatorship people are happy traveling to.
08:35 February 22, 2011 by UScitizen
@ Krattan

Thanks for the comments and insight. It refreshing to read posts like yours which don't try to blame someone or some country needlessly.
09:40 February 22, 2011 by eppie
@us ctizen

Sad you don't understand sarcasm. (black humor based on the truth (my translation)).

When I read about all these riots in all these arab countries I think, why didn't we go and help the people in one of these countries?

No instead we went to Iraq, and make it from a secular state into a muslim extremist state.

You apparantly are not bothered by such thoughts. Lucky you.
14:43 February 22, 2011 by Jes
When is Bilt going to advise Swedes to hit the streets and demonstrate against the sky-rocketing price of food and transport in Sweden ?

Surely , it does not make sense to ask Swedish citizens to "eat right" when the price of things like fish and vegetables has gone up by 40% in the last few years while the incomes remain the same for most people .Why should a kilo of tomatoes cost over 26 kronor ? Tomato production has not changed since 1900 . or has it ?

It is also absurd for the leaders of Sweden to whine about destruction of the enviroment while the ticket for public transport cost 3 times more than using a private car .

I find it annoying to hear Swedish politicians and the media always talking about what is wrong elsewhere but in Sweden . How does one expect an ordinary family to pay for the electricity bills that keep on going up and up as the winters keep on getting colder and colder ?

I suggest that Sweden and the whole of Europe could do with a peoples revolution like the ones we now see in north Africa and the middle -east .

Unemployment, which happens to be one of modern societie`s problem is not going to go down as long as parastatals and big companies lay off employees with the aim of maximizing profits

Its time to revolt and rage against the siege of selfish capitalism. Dictatorship, selfisness and hypocricy are nasty causins.

BTW . Carl Bilt is involved in Oil Trade . What did he expect ?
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